Natsuyuki Rendezvous episodes 05-06: My Little Manager is Definitely This Cute

Too. Freaking. Cute.

A little late (sorry folks, more bulk reviews of the remaining episodes to follow), but here goes… After epi 4’s body-swappy flavoured cliff-hanger ending, I thought epi 5 really delivered not only on the romantic tension and comedic intervals fronts, but it was also gorgeously animated, and epi 6 did not disappoint either…

It’s always the quiet ones who are into that stuff, Hazuki…

(Epi 5:) From the fabulous cold opening introducing us to Hazuki in Wonderland, to the adorable pint-sized Manager, to Mr. Dead Husbando continually being compared to Mr. Younger Model, to those charming fairytale references, to Dat Ending… Well, in short, I thought that this was a fantastic episode. Specifically, because of the development of Shimao’s character, i.e. his mercifully swift graduation from sulky spectre to someone with whom you can really empathise. (Seriously, those ‘old clothes’ and ‘(not) giving of the flowers’ scenes nearly killed me, so bittersweet…) I thought that the constant switching of the two men’s bodies worked really well too in emphasizing the juxtaposition and comparison in the audience’s and Rokka’s eyes, which thus also aided the use of dramatic tension and highlighted Rokka’s dilemma. In contrast to Shimao, Hazuki was more of a catalyst in this episode. However, rather than just reminding us of Hazuki’s feelings for Rokka, I thought that his habitual comments regarding how cute he finds her emphasized the strength of his feelings, which, after all, seem to have been pretty constant. Overall, a fantastic and beautifully crafted episode.

More Rokka Cute.

(Epi 6:) With epi 5’s cliff-hanger ending fresh in our heads, Rokka’s uncharacteristically forward request to wash Hazuki’s back is soon made clearer, as we find out from a flashback that Rokka was fond of washing her husband’s back while he was bedridden and dependant on others to bathe him after being admitted into hospital during his final months. Of course, Shimao (still in Hazuki’s body) recognises that Rokka has clearly developed feelings for Hazuki and so decides to kiss her, despite the fact that she doesn’t know about the body swap, justifying his misleading of her by thinking that Rokka was going to kiss Hazuki anyway, even though it’s not really Hazuki… Inorite, talk about muddy perceptions of morality… Not to mention Confusing… And speaking of Hazuki, he seemed to continue to be mainly a catalyst figure in this episode, but I thoroughly enjoyed the flashback in which we find out when he first saw Rokka. I like the fact that she seemed more like a ‘boy’ to Hazuki at first, rather than a stereotypically feminine uber-sexy figure, and the rainbow he sees behind her through the watering can’s spray was a very nice touch, that also foreshadows the second arch that frames her later in the episode, the rose arch. Such imagery might also suggest how she has hitherto lived a very ‘contained’ or protected life, following other people’s lead/ wishes, as is emphasized by the fact that she still lives and works in her husband’s shop. Of course, with Rokka’s confession at the end of the episode, she might be ready to move on after all. However, the fleeing mermaid image (though it is one of the many striking fairy tale motifs in these episodes) is interesting, also suggesting at this point that she might just be a temptress figure for Hazuki after all, rather than someone who is genuinely interested in him for himself and not just as a means to distract herself from her grief…

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